Living materials such as wood indoors, bring us closer and closer to the warm influence of nature and leave out the noise of the city. Even a small element of wood creates a perfect frame for a corner that focuses on the idea of bringing the natural world in any personal space. We find ourselves in search of the most original products, authentic but also ecological, that do not harm our environment and above all are created without waste. What if along with all these features comes a design element, built with the finesse of each line? Today we want to bring you creations full of emotion, wood tales, from an artist we meet in the middle of the noise of the capital. Ervin Bërxolli, photographer by profession, but with dedication and desire oriented to design. His passion is embodied in a series of special luminaires built with selected, found, retrieved or recycled wood, which come from him with an inimitable design.
Wood Tales by Ervin Bërxolli
You have always had at the center of your creations, whether photos, paintings or various installations, the elements of nature. Then comes your search on wood, where does this passion come from?
Swiss knife, holidays in Jale making key chains and tobacco pipes. This is the scenario, from there the desire revealed itself. I started working with wood during the summer holidays until curiosity started pushing me to look further, at artists and designers, creators who used this material in their works. Desire and inspiration from them nurtured together every day and I was looking forward to starting to work like them, but the lack of time and equipment limited me. Until the idea was born with the first light, I sketched the first light and built it with the limited resources I had, so I figured out how to make them on my own. I worked on my terrace with small tools that allowed me to pull off the details of the very piece of wood I found with very little interference in its form, to give it life again.
What technique do you use to shape the wood?
I know what technique to use when I touch the form. Using the word ‘technique’ creates a kind of myth to label an action perhaps a bit mechanical, imagined when thinking about the process of creating a design piece. In this case, no action is so mechanical, hence the technique becomes irrelevant. The process is not technical, but it is all spiritual. I really started it with a Swiss knife, but today I have equiped myself with some other tools that enable me to realize more sophisticated forms. So the technique is not defined, only the unnecessary things are removed, such as damaged or “dirty” parts in the conception of its image in the design, to reach the pure essence.
Where do you find the basic material?
As far as we know, you find it in nature and then engrave it.
Are you excited by what you find, or do you have in mind what you will create and then transform the found material? Hmm .. what you have in mind versus what you find matches very little and almost always the shape of the object that is created in the end changes in your mind several times, until you agree with the final shape. Regardless of thought and imagination, a project is realized by doing it, developing it. Sometimes I can not control it, any excessive intervention changes its meaning and origin, so I try to keep my initial connection, that of creation, by listening to its form and movements. Most of the creation is based on the question: “What if?”
The head of the lamps, how is it realized?
The lamps so far are divided into two phases regarding to the heads. In the first phase, when I still did not have the environment and the oppourtunity to realize it personally, I was in a relationship with an artisan who realized the heads, as we carefully chose the material and dimensions. Both of these have been essential elements in mantaining the warm form I was looking for. I wanted something that was as pure as the light we seek when we go home and want to relax, or write, or even just think. I have consulted with many people I appreciate and who have a special relationship with their own inspirational environments, trying to find the perfect white for them as well.
The worst part in some of our living rooms in the capital city is precisely the light. Very often the natural one is obstructed by other buildings, we return exhausted to our homes and I myself asked that my designs must include this calmness, so I seeked for what is the most difficult for me to achieve, simplicity.
The second phase, is the phase of creating the lamp heads from veil paper and reed or bamboo sticks. They have floral and organic shapes. My favorite at the moment is the one that looks like a flower with closed petals, with its hanging down and drowsy head. I like to use acrylic to color the paper which creates a very natural effect on its adhesions and color shades.
The idea of changing the heads design has been from the beginning as a kind of transition of design and materials. Dedication time is much longer and the breaths very often hover over every piece of paper and stick. Each color shade is a different drawing and so are the curves. I am saying that this way is another language.
In fact I would like to call them different languages and not phases…
How long does it take to make a light fixture?
It depends on my research to find the ideal ratio between materials and shapes. There are still pieces I have been dealing with since the beginning, and there is no set time for them. A light fixture is finished just when turning on the light and it gives me a strong sense of fulfillment.
Where can we find your creations?
I would like to have kept it secret until the exhibition that I want to think is coming very soon, but I am also happy to say that some lamps, for some time now can be found at Hoda – House of Design Albania, at the Castle of Tirana while others on my terrace and workshop.
What makes these lights so special?
Have you seen others like them? (laughs…) What I mean is that today it is very difficult to create and maintain one or several peculiarities, but it must also be said that in design there is the possibility to design products for a very industrial market. Thinking about unique pieces in art and design, are processes that are based only on experimentation, on finding new forms, new dialects of wood. In the first case these are limited by industrial and quantitative requirements, while in the second they are the offspring of a personal journey. And when it comes to personal, we have the right to think it’s special.
At what price does a lamp made by you vary?
I’m not good with numbers (laughs…) It’s always hard, for me at least, to set a price when it does not include, for example, what is commonly called ‘work reward’. To avoid this difficulty, I have chosen to have the prize set by the people who support and help me in this. So you can choose one, and discover it by yourself!
Have you considered collaborating with architects, given that your products can easily be an important element in an interior?
Yes, I would definitely like it, especially if creativity manages to overshadow pinterest and ready-made materials today, to get as close as possible to the former idea of what was called design.
What can you accomplish with them?
With this design you can furnish interiors of any style, it is a non-style style.
How would you describe one of these creations?
I would describe it as a fairy tale, as a story, which is why I also called it Wood Tales.